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Survey Report

FTSE 350 DC Pension Survey 2019

Rising to the challenge

August 31, 2019

This is the fourteenth edition of our FTSE DC Pension Scheme Survey, and the fourth to extend coverage to the FTSE 350.
Pension Board and Trustee Consulting|Pensions Corporate Consulting|Retirement

The key findings are that DC appears to have gone through its growing pains, has left home and is now facing the future with confidence. But, as no future is certain, it is still learning and developing.

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About this Survey

This year’s survey covers 239 of the FTSE 350 companies. This represents 87% of the eligible companies in the FTSE 350 Index as at the end of 2018. This excludes investment trusts and overseas companies that form part of the index but without a material workforce in the UK.

Most companies assisted by completing our survey questionnaire, while information on others was obtained from within our own organisation or by using details available in the public domain. Consequently, we do not have full data for every single question and graphs are representative only of the data we have for each question.

Limitation of Reliance

In preparing this report we have relied upon information supplied to us by third parties which by necessity, may have been shortened or abbreviated. While reasonable care has been taken to gauge the reliability of this information, we are unable to guarantee the accuracy or completeness of that information, and we cannot therefore be held liable in this regard, including as to the misrepresentation of information by third parties involved.

This report is based on data/information available to us at the date of the report and takes no account of subsequent developments. This report is intended to be used for general marketing purposes and is not a substitute for specific professional advice. It may not be modified or disclosed to any other party without our prior permission, except as may be requested required by law. This report is not intended by us to form the basis of any decision by a third party to do or omit to do anything.

Defined contribution pension provision in the UK has gone through many life stages. Arguably, perhaps understandably, it was conceived and born without too much knowledge or recognition of what “good DC” looked like. In its early years it learnt to walk, rapidly evolving with a focus on contribution design and delivery, including administration and basic investment options. In its adolescent years there was an emphasis on “making DC better”, particularly by improving governance, investment and member understanding and putting in place default approaches in various areas to reduce the need for complex decision making. It has now left home, leaving behind its defined benefit parents and making its own way in the world.

This year’s survey results show that leading schemes are rising to the challenge and beginning to differentiate in areas that will make delivering long-term sustainable retirement outcomes might be better a real possibility.

We believe this survey report to be the market leader in giving the clearest representation of DC pension provision in the UK. Whilst the results are based on information from some of the largest publicly quoted companies in the country, they are relevant to any employer with a DC pension arrangement.

This report covers only the headline results but the underlying data, and our other comprehensive resources, allows us to benchmark and compare DC schemes by industry sector, size and type of scheme.

In this summary report, we have focussed on current and emerging issues through the following five sections:

  1. 01

    Plan design

    The ongoing evolution of plan design and delivery of DC.

  2. 02

    Executive DC pensions

    The impact of the Corporate Governance Code on pensions for senior executives.

  3. 03


    The incorporation of ESG into investment strategies.

  4. 04


    The development of technologies to support the delivery and management of DC pension arrangements.

  5. 05

    At retirement

    How to support members with their “at retirement” choices.

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